Stranded EZjet passengers upset at CAL rates

Passengers who were booked to travel on EZjet say it is “unfair and unreasonable” that while Caribbean Airlines (CAL) has agreed to accommodate them in wake of the charter’s suspension,  they have to pay in some instances more than two times what they were  initially paying.

“This is so cruel and unfair and unreasonable to the average man… I booked my ticket since when at US$185 one way to New York and thought that Caribbean Airlines would carry me at the same price only to turn up and hear that I have to pay over $500 for the same one way,” Denstan Seecharran told Stabroek News yesterday.

Passengers had been left stranded by the suspension of EZjet Air Services by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The Government Information Agency (GINA) had reported on Saturday that during a meeting between the government and officials of CAL on Saturday, an agreement was reached for the Trinidad carrier to ferry the stranded EZjet passengers at the same fare structure.

However, the Ministry of Tourism statement on the meeting noted that as to the issue of pricing, CAL’s Chairman Rabindra Moonan assured President Donald Ramotar that the airline was committed “to keeping the fare structure of Caribbean Airlines,” so that there will be no additional increase in the cost of tickets.

“Caribbean Airlines will not raise any prices and there is a fare structure that we will observe. We are looking to bring in additional flights next week or the following week to alleviate short term, in the medium to long term we hope to have our own aircraft operating from Georgetown to New York and to Toronto,” Moonan was quoted as saying.

Seecharran, some of his friends and family members who are facing the same plight, said that government should have ensured that booked passengers reached their destinations and not reimbursed their fares as now they would struggle to meet the exorbitant demands. “We are left to the mercy of the other airlines because what they say is that, because they know we don’t have any other choice and they know that,” another passenger added.

One passenger explained that shortly after acquiring an immigrant visa to the United States, he saw an advertisement that if he booked before October 15, he would pay US$185. He said that he welcomed the cheap fare and used all additional monies he had towards the building of his family home at Parfait Harmonie.

With the news that EZjet had halted operations, he said he scurried down to the head office only to be greeted by one person in what he called a “ghostly office” as most of the furniture had been moved.

Further, he said that he was told that on November 30, his US$185 refund would be available and that he should try to book with CAL instead but he cannot as he is also not able to afford that airline’s fares. “Cheap things ain’t good and good things ain’t cheap, my mother always telling me. I learn the hard way here, because I could have gotten a flight with Delta Airlines for US$220 around the same time I booked this,” he added, as he pointed to the letter given to him by EZjet.

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